Lately I've been doing my own little social experiment.
The grocery store where I shop is part of a chain of stores located in various parts of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
There is, however, a number of differences between these grocery stores, dependent upon which neighborhood it resides in.
When I go to my local grocery store, I take the plastic bags from previous trips and try to locate the recycle bins for these bags. The larger bins that used to be there for this purpose has since been replaced by a single large trash bin instead, with no markings on it to indicate why it's there. You have to ask about the recycle bin in order to find it.
The person I am asking? The store's security detail. As I walk into the store, I am greeted by a sign indicating I will need to show proof of my purchase with the receipt upon leaving the store.
While going through the store, I notice that the cranapple juice is always out, unless you want to get the generic brand. They also never have the 16 pack of unfrosted strawberry Pop Tarts. They used to carry the filled french toast breakfast pastries from iHop but those have since been long gone.
The candy aisle is located in the front of the store.
Some weeks, though, I will be in Gilbert or East Mesa running errands and will do my grocery shopping at a different store in a different neighborhood. Same grocery chain, but in a different area.
When I walk into the store, there is no sign regarding showing my receipt, nor is there a store security person at the entrance. Those nice, large bins for recycling the bags are there.
They have a large number of bottles of cranapple juice, the 16 pack of Pop Tarts in my favorite flavor are also found there, as well as the iHop breakfast pastries.
The candy aisle is located in the back of the store.
Why the difference?
If you look at the five mile radius of my neighborhood store, you will find areas of low income housing.
The other store has a radius of middle to upper class neighborhoods. No low income housing within five miles.
This is actually more typical than most people may realize, unless they've watched the scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts' character is trying to buy a cocktail dress on Rodeo Drive.